Finance Minister threatens not to pay teacher unions unless…

Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, has told the leadership of teacher unions to validate their claims else payment of their salary arrears would not be made.

He says the ministry has no problem paying the teachers the arrears due them but will do that only if they are able to collaborate with the auditors to verify the authenticity of the 36,000 claims.

Teacher unions – the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) – threatened to go on strike on February 29, if government refused to pay the over GHȼ15 million arrears owe them.

In response to the teacher unions, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr. Jacob Kor, rubbished the claims, saying documents submitted by the unions were backdated and have been found to be fraudulent.

However, government made a u-turn to announce the release of GHȼ1.5 million to the unions , but Mr. Forson says the teachers cannot “access the money because something needs to be done.”

Mr. Forson said the Ministry of Finance is in the position to pay arrears of teacher unions as long as the Auditor General finishes his work and approves the payments.

He announced government will not make any payment until the work is completed.

“Yes we want to go ahead to make those payments but we want to be sure what exactly we are paying for. We can’t spend taxpayers’ money anyhow because someone sitting somewhere has made a claim so we should just pay”, he said.

So far about 6,000 documents have been set aside because they were found to be backdated and fraudulent.

The Minister said those documents would later be seriously scrutinized for the express reason of punishing offenders.

The teachers union have expressed their confidence in the exercise and are looking forward to the end.

Their intended strike slated for tomorrow March 1, has been called off.

Meanwhile, government and teacher unions are expected to hold a joint press conference tomorrow at 9am to address the issue.

Story by Ghana | |Austin Brako-Powers [email protected]

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